Staff Reviews / Book Reviews

Check out these book reviews written by the staff of the Marathon County Public Library, featuring reviews of fiction and nonfiction for adults, children and teens! These book reviews also are published at Goodreads.com; follow us for the latest updates.

"March: Book Two (March, #2)" by John Robert Lewis

'March: Book Two (March, #2)' by John Robert Lewis

★★★★★ "March: Book Two" is the second graphic novel in a trilogy that recounts the Civil Rights movement from the perspective of Congressman John Lewis, a key figure of the movement. This volume picks up the story in late 1960 in Nashville and recounts events including the Freedom Rides in 1961, Lewis’s incarceration in Mississippi, and the March on Washington in 1963. The first-hand account of pivotal events, in combination with the graphic n ...

Reviewed by Rachel H. Read more reviews of "March: Book Two (March, #2)" at Goodreads.com. »

"Love Letters to the Dead" by Ava Dellaira

'Love Letters to the Dead' by Ava Dellaira

Teen Book ★★★★★ When prompted by her English teacher to write a letter to a dead person, Laurel writes a letter to Kurt Cobain, who was her sister May’s favorite musician. It proves to be a therapeutic and deeply personal exercise, so Laurel decides not to turn in the assignment and continues to write letters to a variety of dead people (such as Amelia Earhart, John Keats, and Judy Garland) as she struggles to find her way at a new school during her fre ...

Reviewed by Rachel H. Read more reviews of "Love Letters to the Dead" at Goodreads.com. »

"The Fate of Mercy Alban" by Wendy Webb

'The Fate of Mercy Alban' by Wendy Webb

Adult Book ★★★★★ This is a must read for fans of gothic suspense and mystery, with even a bit of romance thrown in to soften the strong female lead's journey of discovery that spans decades of family secrets. When Grace Alban hears of her mother's untimely passing, Grace returns to their sprawling family estate on Lake Superior with her teenage daughter. But after finding out that her mother died just moment's before she planned to meet a reporter to final ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "The Fate of Mercy Alban" at Goodreads.com. »

"The Summer Wind (Lowcountry Summer #2)" by Mary Alice Monroe

'The Summer Wind (Lowcountry Summer #2)' by Mary Alice Monroe

★★★★ In this sequel to the book, "The Summer Girls", we continue the story of three half-sisters spending a summer together at Sullivan's Island. In this book, the second in the series, we follow the lives of Harper, Carson, and Dora during the middle part of their summer back at Mamaw Muir's house. The girls though different in so many ways, find how to love each other and lean on each other in the midst of their individual struggles. This is ...

Reviewed by Ashley C. Read more reviews of "The Summer Wind (Lowcountry Summer #2)" at Goodreads.com. »

"Return to Augie Hobble" by Lane Smith

'Return to Augie Hobble' by Lane Smith

Tween Book ★★★★★ Augie’s life is like a strange, really bad fairy tale—literally. His parents own an amusement park he works at called Fairy Tale Place which they are struggling to keep going. He is bullied at school, has failed Creative Arts and needs to redo his final project, and the girl he likes barely knows he’s alive. On top of all this, his best friend Britt dies while on vacation and he feels responsible. After all, there may have been peanu ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "Return to Augie Hobble" at Goodreads.com. »

"Little Beach Street Bakery (Little Beach Street Bakery, #1)" by Jenny Colgan

'Little Beach Street Bakery (Little Beach Street Bakery, #1)' by Jenny Colgan

★★★★★ In this unforgettable and heartwarming novel, readers meet Polly, a woman who's life has completely gone up in flames: her boyfriend and her are bankrupt, their business done, flat foreclosed on, and relationship on the rocks. Fleeing alone to a dilapidated flat in a tiny seaside town (the only thing she can afford), Polly slowly begins to heal and find a home, all the while mending the town itself one loaf of bread at a time. I couldn't h ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "Little Beach Street Bakery (Little Beach Street Bakery, #1)" at Goodreads.com. »

"Once Upon a Lie (Maeve Conlon, #1)" by Maggie Barbieri

'Once Upon a Lie (Maeve Conlon, #1)' by Maggie Barbieri

★★★★ The first in a fantastic mystery series, readers meet Maeve Conlon, a baker whose bakery is struggling, a mother whose ex-husband has a new wife and baby, and daughter whose father is falling into the depths of dementia and possibly worse. When Maeve's brutal cousin dies under alarming circumstances, police start to be interested in her father as a prime suspect. This fast paced mystery with quite the twist ending is sure to grab readers! ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "Once Upon a Lie (Maeve Conlon, #1)" at Goodreads.com. »

"Amherst" by William Nicholson

'Amherst' by William Nicholson

★★★★★ Alice Dickinson, an aspiring screenwriter, has found the perfect story. Love, scandal, passion, intrigue, and art. Who could ask for more? In 1880s Amherst, Massachusetts, Austin Dickinson, a pillar of his community and brother to the famous poetess, Emily Dickinson, is stuck in a loveless marriage. There is no comfort, no passion in his life. When the young couple David and Mabel Loomis Todd arrive in Amherst, they quickly befriend Austin ...

Reviewed by Bettina P. Read more reviews of "Amherst" at Goodreads.com. »

"What Katie Ate on the Weekend" by Katie Quinn Davies

'What Katie Ate on the Weekend' by Katie Quinn Davies

Adult Book ★★★★ This is an absolutely beautiful cookbook, and part memoir because the author added journal entries and stories from her travels and family dinners. It has the most photos I've ever seen in a cookbook, and they are all gorgeous! I especially loved the chapters on food inspired by her travels to Dublin and Italy, because I've been to both amazing places. It was wonderful to see her fantastic photography of both places, along with her journal ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "What Katie Ate on the Weekend" at Goodreads.com. »

"Never Die Alone (New Orleans, #8)" by Lisa Jackson

'Never Die Alone (New Orleans, #8)' by Lisa Jackson

Adult Book ★★★★ Twins turning 21 years old have been disappearing, only to be found brutally murdered in a seemingly ritualistic manner. Brianna, cousin of the man put in jail for the crimes, believes her cousin is innocent. When two twins she knows closely go missing the night before they turn 21, she is frantic to find them and prove her cousin's innocence, with or without the help of the police. The eighth in the New Orleans series, this was actually t ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "Never Die Alone (New Orleans, #8)" at Goodreads.com. »

"Lost in the Sun" by Lisa Graff

'Lost in the Sun' by Lisa Graff

Tween Book ★★★★★ Fifth grade was the worst. Sixth grade could be a fresh start but Trent is sure everyone hates him for what he did—accidentally hit Jared Richards in the chest with a hockey puck and killed him. Trent is having trouble forgiving himself and remains mired in guilt. Things slowly begin to change after he meets Fallon Little, an odd girl with a scar across her face and lots of fictional stories about how she got it. Friendship is hard work ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "Lost in the Sun" at Goodreads.com. »

"The Geeky Chef Cookbook: Real-Life Recipes for Your Favorite Fantasy Foods - Unofficial Recipes from Doctor Who, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, and more" by Cassandra Reeder

'The Geeky Chef Cookbook: Real-Life Recipes for Your Favorite Fantasy Foods - Unofficial Recipes from Doctor Who, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, and more' by Cassandra Reeder

Adult Book ★★★★★ Calling all fellow geeks out there!! Have you ever pondered how the food from your favorite TV shows, movies and video games would taste? Here is your chance to experience what was once a mystery! This book is full of unofficial recipes from Doctor Who, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, The Legend of Zelda...just to name a few. I am a self proclaimed geek and I squealed with joy upon opening this wondrous collection of recipes. The recipes ar ...

Reviewed by Ashley C. Read more reviews of "The Geeky Chef Cookbook: Real-Life Recipes for Your Favorite Fantasy Foods - Unofficial Recipes from Doctor Who, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, and more" at Goodreads.com. »

"Me and Earl and the Dying Girl" by Jesse Andrews

'Me and Earl and the Dying Girl' by Jesse Andrews

Teen Book ★★★★★ Greg Gaines is a high school senior who has mastered the art of blending into the social woodwork at school. He’s friendly with the many cliques and social strata while being careful not to appear allied to any single faction. His limited experience with girls in junior high was unsuccessful, so he’s given up on dating during high school. His only friend—whom he thinks of as a co-worker—is Earl. Together, they made several films th ...

Reviewed by Rachel H. Read more reviews of "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl" at Goodreads.com. »

"Dairy-Free Ice Cream: 75 Recipes Made Without Eggs, Gluten, Soy, or Refined Sugar" by Kelly V. Brozyna

'Dairy-Free Ice Cream: 75 Recipes Made Without Eggs, Gluten, Soy, or Refined Sugar' by Kelly V. Brozyna

★★★★★ I am completely ecstatic to try every single recipe in this beautifully illustrated book. Every recipe looks absolutely delicious, and won't make me sick! For all of us ice cream lovers with food allergies, rejoice! These recipes are made without eggs, gluten, soy, dairy, or refined sugar. As someone who can't have soy or dairy, finding dessert recipes has always been difficult because most dairy free recipes unfortunately use soy as the s ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "Dairy-Free Ice Cream: 75 Recipes Made Without Eggs, Gluten, Soy, or Refined Sugar" at Goodreads.com. »

"Castle Hangnail" by Ursula Vernon

'Castle Hangnail' by Ursula Vernon

Children's Book ★★★★ The minions at Castle Hangnail are desperate. In order keep the castle they love they need a new master for magic and evil responsibilities or the Board of Magic will force closure. But when Molly, who is short and barely 12-years-old, shows up on their doorstep and claims to be a wicked witch, they are doubtful she’s the real thing. While she’s trying to convince the minions by checking items off the Board of Magic’s requirement lis ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "Castle Hangnail" at Goodreads.com. »

"Raw and Simple Detox: A Delicious Body Reboot for Health, Energy, and Weight Loss" by Judita Wignall

'Raw and Simple Detox: A Delicious Body Reboot for Health, Energy, and Weight Loss' by Judita Wignall

Adult Book ★★★★ This a great new resource for anyone looking to eat delicious, healthy raw foods. Included is helpful information and guides to detoxing for those interested. For me, having food allergies and eating a mostly vegan diet, I just enjoyed the recipes that are naturally safe for me and great for my body. Included on my list to try: rustic raw lasagna, strawberry chia parfait, and a greek salad complete with a feta cheese alternative. Also incl ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "Raw and Simple Detox: A Delicious Body Reboot for Health, Energy, and Weight Loss" at Goodreads.com. »

"My Organic Life: How a Pioneering Chef Helped Shape the Way We Eat Today" by Nora Pouillon

'My Organic Life: How a Pioneering Chef Helped Shape the Way We Eat Today' by Nora Pouillon

Adult Book ★★★★ It's easy to find organic produce and hormone-free meat now, but 50 years ago, that was not the case. Nora Pouillon is a Vienna-born chef and founder of Restaurant Nora, the first certified organic restaurant in the United States. When Nora came to Washington D.C. in the 1960s, she was horrified at the lack of seasonal produce and meat filled with hormones and antibiotics. Nora helped start the organic food revolution, and her memoir is an ...

Reviewed by Kathleen K. Read more reviews of "My Organic Life: How a Pioneering Chef Helped Shape the Way We Eat Today" at Goodreads.com. »

"Lies That Bind (Maeve Conlon, #2)" by Maggie Barbieri

'Lies That Bind (Maeve Conlon, #2)' by Maggie Barbieri

★★★★ In this fast-paced mystery, Maeve Conlon is not the typical suburban mom. Owner of a bakery and mother of two daughters, Maeve loses her beloved father suddenly from a heart attack. At the funeral, Maeve's already tumultuous life is thrown into chaos when a relative tells her she has a sister that her father kept hidden from her. Spurred by her desire to find out the truth now that she has no family left, Maeve is thrown into the mystery s ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "Lies That Bind (Maeve Conlon, #2)" at Goodreads.com. »

"The Bite of the Mango" by Mariatu Kamara

'The Bite of the Mango' by Mariatu Kamara

Adult Book ★★★★ This memoir of Mariatu will draw you in. It is about Mariatu's life in Sierra Leone (an African country) and subsequent move to Canada. Mariatu lived though a civil war in her native country, but while she and many others have lived to tell their story they also lost their hands. It is a book about survival and overcoming a disability. ...

Reviewed by Heather H. Read more reviews of "The Bite of the Mango" at Goodreads.com. »

"Hope and Other Luxuries: A Mother's Life with a Daughter's Anorexia" by Clare B. Dunkle

'Hope and Other Luxuries: A Mother's Life with a Daughter's Anorexia' by Clare B. Dunkle

Adult Book ★★★★★ This memoir is haunting, beautiful, and hard to forget. From the outside, Clare's life seems perfect. She has a great job as children's book author and is raising her two smart and talented daughters in Germany with her loving husband. Clare's story shows us that even when you think everything is perfect, something can happen that can turn your whole world upside down. This book traces Clare's oldest daughter Valerie's battles with depress ...

Reviewed by Laura W. Read more reviews of "Hope and Other Luxuries: A Mother's Life with a Daughter's Anorexia" at Goodreads.com. »

"14th Deadly Sin (Women’s Murder Club, #14)" by James Patterson

'14th Deadly Sin (Women’s Murder Club, #14)' by James Patterson

Adult Book ★★★★ The latest book in the popular Women's Murder Club series finds LAPD Detective Lindsay Boxer trying to solve a series of crimes that hits a little too close to home. Robberies and murders are being committed by a group of men who wear masks and LAPD uniforms. As panic among the public sets in, Lindsay is left to determine whether these criminals are really police officers. And if they are, is there anyone left she can trust? As the story p ...

Reviewed by Laura W. Read more reviews of "14th Deadly Sin (Women’s Murder Club, #14)" at Goodreads.com. »

"Life from Scratch: A Memoir of Food, Family, and Forgiveness" by Sasha Martin

'Life from Scratch: A Memoir of Food, Family, and Forgiveness' by Sasha Martin

Adult Book ★★★★★ Blogger Sasha Martin may be best known for Global Table Adventure, the blog where she chronicled her culinary journeys cooking recipes from every country. Her memoir does discuss the blog, as well as her picky husband's foray into exotic foods, but the majority of the memoir focuses on the tragedies Martin experienced as a child, and how it affected her adult life. Martin's candid recollections and her vivid descriptions of food made this ...

Reviewed by Kathleen K. Read more reviews of "Life from Scratch: A Memoir of Food, Family, and Forgiveness" at Goodreads.com. »

"Beneath the Bonfire: Stories" by Nickolas Butler

'Beneath the Bonfire: Stories' by Nickolas Butler

Adult Book ★★★★ Nickolas Butler, author of "Shotgun Lovesongs," returns with a beautiful and memorable collection of short stories. Like the characters in his debut novel, Butler introduces readers to realistic characters who could be a neighbor, friend, or family member. If you enjoyed his debut novel, make sure to add this book to your summer reading list. ...

Reviewed by Kathleen K. Read more reviews of "Beneath the Bonfire: Stories" at Goodreads.com. »

"Rebel Queen" by Michelle Moran

'Rebel Queen' by Michelle Moran

Adult Book ★★★★ Set in India during British occupation, this historical novel follows Sita, a young woman chosen to serve the queen of Jhansi, known as Rani Lakshmi. Sita is an intelligent and strong female character, devoted to her younger sister and her position to guard the queen as a member of the Durga Dal. Rani Lakshmi is eventually called the Rebel Queen after a series of uprisings against the British. The title is a bit misleading, because it is m ...

Reviewed by Kathleen K. Read more reviews of "Rebel Queen" at Goodreads.com. »

"When Fraser Met Billy: An Autistic Boy, a Rescue Cat, and the Transformative Power of Animal Connections" by Louise Booth

'When Fraser Met Billy: An Autistic Boy, a Rescue Cat, and the Transformative Power of Animal Connections' by Louise Booth

Adult Book ★★★★ This is a true story about a struggling family, their autistic son, Fraser and a special grey shelter cat named Billy who brought them love, happiness and hope. With Billy in his life, gradually Fraser had less tantrums, was less anxious about changes, and less moody. Also diagnosed with hypotonia, a muscle condition, Billy also helped him learn to climb stairs and develop his muscles. This is a heartwarming story about the power of a pet ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "When Fraser Met Billy: An Autistic Boy, a Rescue Cat, and the Transformative Power of Animal Connections" at Goodreads.com. »

25 | Based on the Goodreads API.